Tuesday, December 28, 2004

How DARE you?

I am addressing this post to three specific people. Due to an important thing called לשון הרע (a concept they totally don't understand), I won't name them...
I'm talking about people who use the phrase "intellectually lazy," to describe Rabbonim or Gedolei Hador. Have you ever learned a page of גמרה? A line of מהרל? Have you ever sat in a בית מדרש-for just the purpose of listening and learning, not to find ways to further your own twisted reasoning? You'll find that being quiet and just absorbing for a bit can be an amazing experience...try it one day!)
I just don't get it. If you find that there are problems in this society-and I'll be the first to admit that there are-work on ways to FIX them rather than to rant about it for days just to spread hate and discontent. The LAST thing you can call any person who is immersed in the study of Torah is "intellectually lazy."
It's so ridiculous...I'm just in shock...but then again, thank G-d, I haven't been exposed to these hate-spreading people until recently. Naivete is a much calmer state of mind...
Wow. I hope you work out your issues.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


I got this from Stx, who got it from a girl named Jessica Joy. I'm not sure where it's from originally, but it's so wonderful!

Hodu LaHashem Ki Tov!

I am thankful for the wife who says it's hot dogs tonight, because she is home with me, and not out with someone else.
For the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with me and not out at the bars.
For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes because that means she is at home, not on the streets.
For the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed.
For the mess to clean after a party because it means that I have been surrounded by friends. Fr the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
Fr my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
For all the complaining I hear about the government becasue it means that we have freedom of speech.
For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot becasue it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.
For my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.
For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.
In short...I am thankful, oh so thankful.

Thank you Hashem!!!

With so much to be thankful for, one wonders why there're so many people out there who are insistant not only in making their own lives miserable, but also in convincing others that their lives are miserable. Work on fixing yourself, not on souring others!

Saturday, December 18, 2004


I really wasn't going to post until after finals are over (course, I also wasn't going to go online, but that was a pretty pathetic attempt..), but Stx linked a wonderful post, and I just HAVE to link to it as well! It's Chayyei Sarah. She writes (and I'm interpreting loosely here-go see it for yourself!) about how different frum Jews can be and how steryotyping is so awful because it ignores the other 99.9% of the Hasidic, Yeshivish, Ultra-Orthodox, Haredi (etc.) people!!

So all of you out there whose main goal seems to be to find flaws in great numbers of frum people, please read this and open your minds a bit...

Friday, December 10, 2004


Iwas talking to my brother (yes, I do that occasionally) today, and he said something fascinating. We were discussing whether being frum (Orthodox) is restrictive or not. He said, "You can't fly. Do you find that restrictive?"
Just thought it was inerstin'

Edit: After a little discussion, we decided that doing drugs would be a better example. You physically CAN do it, but you don't (I hope!)-why? Because it's proved to be bad for you. Well, if The Doctor says that something is bad for you, why would you do it? (I know-believing in a Supreme Doctor is an entirely seperate argument...but in my personal case, I do!)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The President Gets it Right

It's so interesting. Everyone has their views on the reason for Channuka, some according to the way it actually says in the sources, some veeery strange. (Then there are those who go by the wrong position in the Gemora and are lighting according to Bais Shaamai, but that's a different story...a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing...)
But President Bush, tonight, in the official lighting of the White House Menora got it right! The names of the kids who lit the candles were Chaim, Menachem, and Miriam, but I'm sure that's just coincedence ;)
(Unless you remember Miss Straus-who's now Mrs. Someone Else-6th grade Navi-THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A COINCEDENCE!! Funny what you remember from grade school..)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

And now for something completely different...or not!

My driving mashal of the month:

I went today on my first trip to a faraway place (stop laughing, Rachel ;) ) all by my lonesome. A fifteen minute drive on roads previously uncharted (at least by me..). The way there was fine. On the way back, made a wrong turn. Simple mistake, right? Um...it takes talent. Anyway, I called a wonderful friend who knows everything about every direction there is to go, and she told me to go in a certain direction. As I was speaking to her, I saw a road that looked familiar-so I said "never mind, I just found it...I'm going this way." She didn't sound so sure, and said, "um..ok, but I don't think that'll go where you need to go.."

Well...aside from the fact that it WAS another wrong turn, the route I had planned to take didn't work even when I found the right road! So I called her back, sheepishly, and asked her for directions, promising to follow them to the letter. When I listened to her, I got where I needed to go-in the 15 minutes it was supposed to take originally.

The nimshal?

I wasted 45 minutes of my time because I was stubborn and didn't want to listen to the person who could help me (yes, you can gloat..). You can take that for Emunas Chachamim, Emunas HaTorah, Kibud Av Va'Em, whatever you'd like. Just know that when you quiet your ego for a bit, you'll find that many people have important things to tell you!!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

On the Star-K thing...

Since everyone feels the need to voice their opinions, I just want to mention that, regardless of how you feel about it, the Star-K took a problem that everyone complained about and offered a solution. Until I hear someone offer a better alternative, I don't think anyone has a right to complain.
Besides...it works. I was out of town for Shabbos, and apparantly lots of people know about it and are veeeery interested...money talks...louder than anything else, unfortunately

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Where was G-d? Everywhere!

In my World War II class today, we saw a documentary on the Holocaust. 'Nuff said. It was rather painful, but thought-provoking. Two of the people interviewed wondered where G-d was and why He didn't listen to the cries of the prisoners. I just want to venture a reply. I do not have the audacity to claim that I know what G-d thoughts are, but I DO know that they are always good and for the good of His Children. So where was He, you ask? With the Allied soldiers, helping them win the war so that they COULD save the survivors from the camps. If Hashem hadn't intervened, perhaps the Nazis C"V could have won, I don't know. But He did, the camps were liberated, and the main perpetrators of the evil were punished.

So why did it take so long? I don't know. Maybe it was supposed to be longer and the time was shortened because of our cries and His mercy. Maybe certain things had to happen in the order that they did for reasons that will later become clear. Like I said, I don't presume to know Hashem's reasons for what happens. But we say ברוך דין האמת when bad happens precisely because we know that what He does IS for the good.

Just a thought.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Defending Myself Against Lurkers...

So apparantly I've made it to h.com. Oh dear. So now I have to explain some things, because someone apparantly read only the name of my site and came to his own conclusions about me...and I quote:

BaronPhilip-"A blog by a "frum actress"? What does she write about? Kosher tarfus?"

Um...I sure hope that's not what my posts have been coming across as-if I have been, let me know, and I'll stop blogging immediatly.

I wonder if you'll actually take the time to see my site and give me the benefit of the doubt, but this is to answer your question, "Baron":

I love to act, and, I might add, I kinda have talent (If you must know, though I hate posting personal stuff, I worked at a FRUM girls' performing arts camp for two summers). Apparantly you can't understand this, which is fine...many of my best friends can't (tho some can ;) ). I also, B"H, am veery happy being frum. It's what literally, B"H, makes my life what it is, and I am (and will be!) eternally grateful for it. I also don't think that anybody has a talent that is to be wasted. (To quote Julia Blum..."If G-d gives you a gift, you are obligated to use it. Use it to bring goodness into this world, and honor to the One who gave it to you.") I happened to be given by Hashem a talent for acting. Ordinarilly, one might think that this is something that can't be used, and should instead be stifled (and after all, aren't Orthodox women stifled anyway? NO!!) I made "frumactress" my blog name because I feel that it's NOT an oximoron, but rather something I must try to utilize to be מקדש His Name. Regardless of how I end up using my particular talent, I am on a search to find a way to use it לשם שמים, or, as a certain R' H would say, to "make Poppa happy."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Hashem loves us!!

My friend the Morah was telling me something she taught in her tefila (prayer) class the other day, and I think it applies to my soapbox on people's perspectives..enjoy!

"In 1927, at the University of Berlin, a Jewish woman named Bluma Zeigarnik, who was researching brain psychology mechanisms came upon an important finding that says a lot about how human beings respond to prayer and spirituality. She showed a large number of human subjects a circle that was 7/8 complete and found that the vast majority focused their eyes and their attention on the 1/8 of the circle that wasn't complete.
This phenomenon, which was later named "the Zeigarnik effect," explains why our anxious, problem-seeking brains can't seem to notice what's going right in our lives but seem to be pulled toward the next unsolved problem. Is it any wonder your spouse, your boss, your parents, or your own self-critical brain tends to focus only on what's incomplete and takes for granted or ignores what is healthy or going well?
Jewish spirituality recommends saying a prayer or reciting a blessing whenever you notice, even for a moment, that something is going right. It's as though the ancient rabbis knew that our brains were good at problems but lousy at appreciating life or moments of peace. It is a radical liberation step to rise above anxiety for at least a few moments each day to appreciate that some things are going well, even in tough times."

It's by Leonard Felder (no idea who he is, but I'm sourcing it!)

Just something to keep in mind every day. Hope yours is wonderful!! :)

Friday, November 12, 2004

יהודים ששונאים את עצמם

Why? Why can't we look for the good in those people that it's apparantly so easy to find bad in? It'll make your life (and perspective) so much more positive, and then y'all won't blast our faults all over the Internet for all to see. Find the good, and make it a קדוש ה and not, C"V, the opposite. PLEASE!! If you can change the world, please, go ahead!! But if it's just לשון הרע, why is it necessary?
No, this is not addressed to anyone or anything specific...just a culmination of events.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

My history..

So...for those wondering, this is what I want to do when I grow up. Check out the fragments from the Cairo Geniza!! You're not excited??? Oh. I am!!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Lashon Hora

Literally, it means, The Bad Language. I've learned from being in an environment where people are soooo not careful how they speak that speech is such a powerful and important thing. Today, I saw it make someone cry, make someone laugh, make someone hate someone else, and make someone look down on another person. We have laws about how to guard our tongues, but I think it's something that should hold true to all people. It is so not necessary to say something nasty-to someone, or worse, about someone behind their back(therefore not them the chance to defend themselves).

Lashon Hora doesn't only include how we speak about others-it's how we talk in general. We learn that a person has only a certain amount of words to say in his lifetime-how can we waste them with curses and dirty phrases? How can we take the one thing that physically separates us from animals and act lower than the lowest creature?

I heard Eli Weisel speak last night. The man has taken the English language and mastered it, to the point that every word that he says is quotable, is remarkable in its brilliance. We can't necessarily do that, but we CAN make our words pleasing to others.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Al tadun es chavercha ad shemagia limkomo

Chazal say that "you shouldn't judge someone until you have reached their situation". Having reached a situation that I have judged other people in before getting there, I want to apologize for making judgemental statements without having a clue as to what you were going through. I'm trying to work on it. Have a wonderful uplifting, amazing, and absolutely inspiring Shabbos.

Sunday, October 31, 2004


Was reading Flairrah's blog, and I'll have to agree. Ma rabu ma'asecha Hashem!! The world is a beautiful place-especially this time of year! I just had to add my two cents. It's so wonderful to walk into a world, made just for you (every person is supposed to realize "beshvili nivra ha'olam," literally-"the world was created for me") and see how beautiful G-d's creations are. Fall is such an amazing time-the leaves all turn colors that are so beautiful against each other and against that blue that is so...well...BLUE!! of the sky. Did you ever want to physically feel the color of the sky? It has to be wonderful-feelings ARE colors...or is it vice versa? I love being able to literally walk into a painting every day by entering Hashem's world.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The "Good/Evil=God?" Question

I've gotten complaints about not blogging often enough, (dunno why, it's not like anyone comments-and don't comment now just to say that you've commented...) so here's something fascinating that I got as a forward-don't know how true it is, but it's a really really good point (especially when you see who the student was!)

The university professor challenged his students with this question.
"Did God create everything that exists?"
A student bravely replied "yes, he did!"
"God created everything? The professor asked.
"Yes sir", the student replied.
The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are then God is evil".
The student became quiet before such an answer. The professor was quitepleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that Christian, Judaism & Muslim faiths are a myth.
Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question, professor?"
"Of course", replied the professor.
The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"
"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?"
The students snickered at the young man`s question.
The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According tothe laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (- 460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matterbecomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have no heat.
The student continued. "Professor, does darkness exist?"
The professor responded, "Of course it does".
The student replied,"Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton`s prism to break white lightinto many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You can not measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. [TRW's note-just keep that in mind when you do anything :)]
"How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn`t this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is nolight present."
Finally the young man asked the professor. "Sir, does evil exist?"
Now uncertain, the professor responded,"Of course, as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man`s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations arenothing else but evil."
To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith or love that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God`s love present in his heart. It`s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes whenthere is no light."
The professor sat down.
Old ending:
The young man's name--- Albert Einstein.
But it's been confirmed through my official confirmer (that'll be twice so far, aishel!) that snopes calls it an urban legend. I'm keeping the story up, though, because I still like the actual refutation, no matter whether it happened or not. Whoever thought of it was really smart! ;) Readers should just be aware that Einstein was NOT, I repeat, NOT the student in the story. Thanks!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

For those yet undecided

I tried so hard to avoid discussing politics, but I just want to mention one thing:

Though it hasn't yet been confirmed or denied on Snopes, Arafat seems to have made a statement saying that he hopes Kerry will win the election because he will be very supportive of a Palestinian state. What does that mean for the Israeli state?
I leave that for you to think about...election day is November 2.

In Her Own Words

I get an email weekly from a good friend of mine from LA, and she never ceases to inspire me! I read this one, and, as usual, wanted to share it, and remembered that I have this forum for spouting...so enjoy!!

Attempting to sound strong, the girl raised her voice slightly. “I realized I was different… and that I wouldn’t find anyone else who thinks like I do, and I got used to being a loner.” She quickly glanced down at her fingernails, pausing a moment too long before she lifted her eyes, “Most people just don’t care to think or talk about life.” She really said that, and she really believes it, and she seemed to me to be near tears as she said it.

And honestly, I was shocked. Not at the statement that most people don’t think seriously about the world we live in and what it means… but that there was sitting here a girl who hadn’t found people who DID care… and that I am so fortunate to be so surrounded by exactly those thinking, feeling people.We don’t realize enough what a blessing it is to live in the communities that we do, to associate with people for whom life has a purpose greater-than-instant-gratification. Every day I live with people for whom discussing social issues, philosophical issues, moral issues is a given. And most people in this world DON’T get that. They live life, take what they’ve been tossed, get juggled by media propaganda and manipulative advertising, subliminal consumerist and flaming liberal messaging, and it doesn’t phase them.

And it made me sad, to wonder what is happening to these potentially brilliant minds… where were their efforts going… why is it the norm to vegetate rather than think.I feel like every week I say this about something else – but it’s true; we’re blessed. We’ve been given a treasure, an invaluable treasure… [this week] the mind. It’s a medium of intellect higher than the animal world. The human mind makes the human person a creature of dignity and purposefulness. If it’s not used – what are we?

So look at the parsha, Lech Licha. In an article at aish.com, Rabbi Noson Weisz comments that Avram was different from his society in that he really used the mind that Gd gave him… he wondered about the world, about our existence, about the existence of a Higher Power… and because he gave life thought, he came to a greater realization than those around him. And even more than that, he took his knowledge and his understanding into his heart, which is what gave him the strength to listen to Gd’s word, leave whatever necessary behind… because he respected his own mind, he understood the importance in utilizing that mind, and that his understanding of Gd’s will as ultimate reality was what mattered most.

And he had a wife, a few devoted family members, servants, and a following of believers. And when Gd told him that it was time to go… these are the people that came with him. The people that could also appreciate this realization of Gd, people with whom Avram could discuss and understand the value of life and man’s purpose of goodness in this world. I don’t believe this treasure, our mind, can exist without mutuality of intellectual stimulation. Which is why we’re so lucky. Which is why I feel so bad for the girl in my social psych class who has been left stranded in such a vast, frightening, and false world.

It’s really special to be able to sit at a dinner table at USC and look across at seven other people heatedly debating nuances of human intelligence, and considering what that demands of us.To sit next to someone who himself is in awe of the fact that we get caught into these “crazy conversations every single day.”To feel like I can call my friend and say … I really need a break from this college mumbojumbo … and our break will be an attempt to understand the value of speech. To hear a sophomore in high school say that it makes her happy to see herself taking meaningful steps to bettering her life, to understanding what is important in life. When only hours earlier a college professor commented, “When people start to take life seriously, around their late 20’s, early 30’s…” To know that I even have a baby sister (sorry, 14?) at home who is ahead of those 30-year-olds.To laugh with joy when I hear one of my Jewish atheist friends still wonder about what we mean when we say “soul”

…And it’s because we’re around people to whom the mind is that treasure… and we’re not even conscious of it, but I believe it would pain us to let that mind atrophy…Now just think… how much we could do, like Avram, by taking that intellect into action.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Another driving mashal

Was in the car with Stx today and something came up (not gonna say who was driving...;) ) where the driver wanted to switch lanes, but the passanger knew better. Why? There were cars in the other lane. Sometimes they were going faster, sometimes slower. But the other lane looked so enticing...if we'd moved at that time, though, we would have smashed into the car next to us! So we were really where we were supposed to be....

Sometimes other people's lives look so much better, more exciting, etc. But if we'd have their lives, we'd clash (smash) with their situation, cause it's not for us! There's something good about you and what you have. For some people it's harder to see than for others, but it's still there. There's still something that's special about YOU that only YOU have and that makes you who you are. Enjoy it and utilize it to the max!!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Simchas Torah

It's amazing!! What do we do? We dance around the Torah, we reaffirm our faith. It's a holiday of pure joy and connecting to G-d and His Gift to us (which, incidentally, includes the blueprint for the world and the reason for our existance!!) It's really an amazing thing...;)

(I feel like soon I'll be able to give myself Amos's label-"Bible-thumping wacko...and proud of it!" Wow. I'm afraid...well...not really! If my blog freaks you out, you don't have to read it! But if it doesn't...beware...and enjoy!! :)

Sunday, October 03, 2004

It's all in perspective

If you consider your holy book to be Godly written (as opposed not divinely inspired), it makes a pretty big difference on the perspective of your religion and how you act within it. Just thought I'd mention that...
(Another homework inspired thought)

Reading a book on resistance..people are so evil.

Life in Nazi Germany and its occupied territories was terrifying. When the Nazis invaded a country, they took people hostage (2 million in France). If there was resistance in the occupied country, they would then systematically kill numbers of hostages. Or, as in one case, when there were 2 Nazis killed near a village, they killed one man from every household (if there was more than one, the woman of the household had to choose who they should kill). It really frightens me. I don't like people like this...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Erev Yom Kippur-Gam Zu Litova!

Just a thought inspired by my father-his car broke down tonight after 12 years, and he's probably gonna have to get a new one...and when I asked him if he had a bad day he answered with a smile "Gam Zu Litova!"
So...my thought is that it's Erev Yom Kippur-so if anything C"V bad happens to you (yes, even down to putting your hand in your pocket and taking out the wrong coin), it MUST be a kapara! (Even more so than usual ;) ) How can the Satan be mikatreg if you're already having tza'ar? Gam zu litova. Gmar chasima tova and may we see NO tza'ar in the coming year for all of klal yisroel!!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

So I'm studying my Latin verbs like a good girl for LATN 101 and found a cool thing!
Amabo te=please
Literally, though, it means "I will love you"
So when the Romans would ask each other for something politely, they would say "PLEASE!! (I'll be your best friend!!!)"

Monday, September 06, 2004

Bottling Time

I think this idea was from ZZ, but I completely agree..

Don't you wish you could just bottle time when you have extras of it and save it for when you're desperate for more?

I think the same should apply for happiness...


Was flipping through the "next blogs" to see if there was anything interesting...terrible waste of time, usually...but look what I found!

Two bubbles found they had rainbows on their curves.
They flickered out saying:
"It was worth being a bubble,
just to have held that rainbow thirty seconds."

It's by Carl Sandburg. I like it. Thanks, Lisa!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

It's ELUL!!

I still have 3 1/2 chapters left to go before I'm finished my reading for tonight (History classes are just lovely...), but I stopped to do my long-distance chavrusa and had to share an insight.
There's a story in the Gemara about two Rabanim that were talking and someone came up to them and asked them a question:
"My workers are working for me in the Shemita (7th Year-when the Land rests) and taking olives from the trees as payment. Is that allowed?"
When the Rabbis answered him in the negative, he turned and walked away immediatly, prompting R' Elazar Ben R' Tzadok to comment:
"I have lived in this land for 40 years and never saw a man with such fear of sin as this man."
The man later returned to them and asked them what to do in his specific situation, they gave him advice, and the matter was done.
What was so amazing? The man heard a Psak (rabbinical ruling), and realized he was doing something wrong. He didn't pause for a minute to see where he should progress from there-he just ran home to make sure that he wasn't sinning for an extra second!!
The point of the Michtav Me'eleyahu (who brings this down) is to show how one should fix his ways on Erev Rosh Hashana (and always!). As soon as you realize you're doing something wrong-don't waste an extra second!! Go and correct the chait, and then progress from there..you can only move up!!
May we all have the Hashgacha and inspiration (we DO have it-it's just about seeing it..) to do the same. Amain.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Thought of the day...

I was driving home from work (funny-it's in the exact same location as the place I will start school tomorrow! ;)) today, and as I can get off the beltway at a few points and still get home, I was keeping an eye on the traffic. And I got to thinking-It's all smooth here, this lane is great, I'll just wait till the last exit and get off there.
But wait! I didn't need to get off the last exit, I needed to get off at MY exit! Soo...lesson on complacency-even though things may be comfortable and changing takes effort and can be frustrating, there's no point in staying where you are-you'll just miss your exit and have to turn around...which takes a whole lot more work...

Sunday, August 29, 2004

She's Back!!

Just thought I'd mention that a very special person has come to us for an undisclosed amount of time...she'll eventually be returning to her home in the Holy Land, but we need to find her a companion to go with her ;)
In other news, I start school on Wednesday...tuition rose again (as usual..oy) and caused Leati to leave :( But at least I'll be doing something semi-constructive!!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Following the status quo :(

I was reading through blogs and realized that everyone's are the same-mine included: "I'm different, and I'm going to prove it by blogging rebellious/catchy/self-absorbed nonsense."
But I AM different!! Really!! (Or something-doesn't everyone want to be special?)
Was looking at my play tonight, got distracted...I wish I could write!! Where's my purple Muse?
(I refuse to explain. I'm in a mood...I hate being typical-but with billions of people in the world, how is one a unique individual? When I'm in a better mood I'll talk about tafkid and t'chuna)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

On Sunglasses and Tinted Windows, Part II

So what's the connection to tinted windows? Cars in general are also a way that people separate from the world. It's funny, cause we think of cars as ways to get to people. On the other hand, we also use cars to get away from people as well. And even when we travel, be it to or from people we love, we are separate from those around us. All of the cars on the highway, in the next lane, in front of us or in back of us, are essentially distant. We shut our windows tight and focus inward, turning up our radio, or turning to the person in the passenger seat. Having a 20-45 minute drive to school/work (depending on traffic), I've been thinking about that a lot.
Did you ever see your friend in the car next to you? You can see them every day, you could have just come from their house, but it's sooooo exciting when you see them on the highway. Why? What's so exciting about seeing someone again after just seeing them for four hours? It's because you're in a private space in your car, surrounded by unfamiliar territory. When you see a friend, suddenly you have someone to whom it's safe to wave at, smile at, talk to, whereas before it was just you and "all the other people on the road."
Some people might say that it's the same with walking down the street, as many people deliberately turn away so as not to meet people's eyes (again, the eye thing-it's personal contact), but there are also many many more possibilities for encounter with people when you stand next to them, under the same roof or the same sky.
Dunno if all this makes sense...it's just my thoughts for the day..;)

Of Sunglasses and Tinted Windows, Part I

It's summer. Fun in the sun! So I was thinking (I do that occasionally) about sunglasses-it's interesting-people who wear them (and I'm including myself here) are essentially cutting themselves off from the people around them. No, wait, let me finish. When you are having a conversation with someone, what do you look at to tell them you're listening? Their eyes. How can you tell how a person's feeling? Their eyes. The eyes tell so much about a person, more than the mouth will ever tell you. (Yes, Stx, that's what's so amazing about yours! I know you're closing them as you read this...but wait-that would be technically impossible ;) )
So back to the sunglasses, people put them on to block the sun. Right? But then they "forget" to take them off when they're in a dark building. I don't think they're intentionally thinking "Okay, I'm hiding from the world now," but you DO feel different when you look at people through sunglasses then when you don't (course, there's a whole long speech on that, but that's for another day...)
So essentially it's a seperation from the world! Now, some days we need that...

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Update on Judaism 101

R' Amos gave me the name of someone to call to speak at UMBC. So I was nervous to call him because I have this fear of failure thing, and apparantly not too many people went two years ago, the last time something like this happened.
Anyway, after calling three different numbers (each number sent me to a new number-I felt like I was on a treasure hunt!), I finally spoke to him. His wife had just given birth. Right now. Today. And he answered the phone. And spoke to me like I was a mentch. So I am extremely embarrassed...

Random Thoughts...on Nuclear Warfare!

According to my brother's magazine, Popular Science, the British Ministry of Magic Defense has invented a shield for their tanks that explodes any shells that come up against it...so what does this mean practically? People will stop sending bullets in war (aka conventional warfare) and will have to move on to non-conventional methods that can't be protected against...like nuclear, etc. Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? :)
(We neeeeeeeed Moshiach!!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Hypocritical for a sec...

Wow. I am sitting at my computer, speechless. There is so much hate out there. Hashem, please please bring Moshiach! Why can't we like each other?? I don't know why I'm posting this except for the fact that tears came to my eyes and my heart started racing.
Call me emotional. Fine.
I just read a blog (and no, I'm not going to link to it) that had so much hate for it. No matter if you're Chassidic, Black Hat (which I didn't even know was a term, but apparantly it is..), or Modern Orthodox. Or anything else for that matter. There are people out there, I don't know (or ever want to know) who they are, but sit and write blogs or comments on blogs or whatever and post them on the Internet. And the purpose? To say bad things about other Jews. Mean, horrible things. Closed-minded, thoughtless things. I really wish I could cry to this particular person, hug him (tho I technically wouldn't do that), and show him that frum people are good! There are so many people who love the Jews, love each other and themselves! How do you get through to a mind that refuses to listen? (Or as someone I know says, are "so openminded that their brains fall out").
Well..that'll stop my foray into the blog world for a while. I can post on my own site, and check those of my friends, but people are really sad, scary, and hurt out there. I only wish that they could meet some of the people that I've met.
And to the person who I'm specifically talking about, if you somehow find my site and post nasty, hurtful things on it, I am going to delete them. So please don't bother. I have no problem with different ideas, but if your point is ONLY to condemn other people, you can ask me for references, and I'll refer you to some of the most amazing people in the world. And there are quite a few of them that I know. And I'm only one person in this huge world. So imagine how many you could find if you asked around or tried to look for them.
I hope everyone has a wonderful, enlightening, inspired and G-d filled day.

Dress Code

I wanted to bring up my opinion on dress, that I think has not yet been mentioned by either Stx or Devorah or anyone commenting on their blogs. (Well...it's been brought up, but I wanna give my take)
I was driving yesterday with a not-yet-frum woman and we saw an "I love Tov Pizza" bumper sticker on the back of a car in front of us that did a very illegal and dangerous action. She turned to me and said "It's so funny to me when the Orthodox people do things like that. Becuase they give off an impression of being so religious, and yet they still are not any better than me!"
That kinda scared me. A lot. Because our whole purpose of being here is to raise Hashem's Name in the world. Dressing and acting the way we do either elevates it or drags it in the mud. So if you choose to send the message to the world of your Jewishness, that's a wonderful and amazing thing. BUT-be aware that this is what you are doing and act accordingly-every second of the day-as much as you possibly can. This means going beyond what you should-always! Going the extra mile is a prerequisite!
(Note that the achrayus is on us-NOT to judge other people that don't act correctly, but to fix it within ourselves...what bothers us about other people can be traced to a fault within ourselves-it's a sign that we need to work on something-tolerance, if nothing else...)

Monday, August 16, 2004


Since none of my comp sci friends actually answered the question (just commented on it..), I figured out all by myself how to add links. And I actually wrote the code and inserted it into my settings! (Check it out on the sidebar-lower down). With the help only (always) of Hashem, I did it! ;)

P.S. for Stx

I really wanted to comment on something in Stx's blog, but apparantly there aren't allowed comments for some reason, so I'm going to comment here. See R' Reinman's personal statement regarding One People Two Worlds. Why was it necessary? Becuase people are sooo quick to condemn the "closed, Orthodox world." Have they ever actually seen it? Or, like people's reactions to so many things, have they only seen the hype and media on that and made their decisions based on what they are fed by others...?
Try it before you knock it! Or at least do some extensive research...(hey, I'm not saying everyone should take a class on Matthew, but then again, now I can give an enlightened opinion on it...and it WASN'T my choice-I fought it tooth and nail)

Sunday, August 15, 2004

On dating

Not that I would know...but I was reading through some of the profiles on one of those websites (which, incidentally, I don't think should be available to those that aren't signed up-like me, because all I'll do is analyze:), and everyone says the same thing: "I'm ortho but I don't fit into the box" or "I'm modern ortho because I believe in the importance of secular things as well as Torah".
Well. Just for the record, I consider myself orthodox and I'm proud of it! I know that everything comes from the Torah, so the question of whether secularism fits into that life is kinda dependent on your perspective and priorities. Labels are so silly, cause they have so many different meanings for different people...but then how are you supposed to describe yourself? Dunno..I guess you actually have to go out and meet people rather than just posting four lines that describe yourself that sound the same as everyone else's four lines-"I'm frum, but don't worry, not toooooo frum." In'er'stin'
Love yourself for who you are. If you are okay with where you are going spiritually (as long as you're going up!), you shouldn't need to defend yourself or put down another person's way of life. I really really really hope that's how I act. ('Cept when I play Devil's Advocate...)

Chachma Bagoyim Ta'amin

Two reasons for the title:
1. I'm reading this book, Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History. It's fascinating-written by a former Catholic priest who believes in the concept of Jesus, but not in the New Testiment. He says that the New Testament was written by people who were trying to kiss up to the Romans, but had to knock someone, so knocked the Jews. It's a thoroughly researched book, and has much more credibility than a lot of history books I've read before (and yes, I have read quite a few...for pleasure ;) ), but over 700 pages...so that'll be my summer reading (unless HP6 comes out!). What's so fascinating is that he's really religious...but I'm not sure what his credo is exactly (course, I'm only on about page 120, so I'll let you know if anything changes)
2. The musical Wicked not only is 99% clean, but has a wonderful message about benefit of the doubt and how things can be totally oppostie how they seem. There's also this beautiful song at the end-For Good. It's all about friendship and how friends can impact people's lives. So to all my friends I say:

Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder, halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

Like a ship pulled from its moorings by a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird in a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better,
But because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

My favorite line? "You'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart.." B"H I have quite a few handprints on my heart!! (Especially the purple one...)
My day
1. 11-4 Hillel Board meeting. But you must understand that I am a member of the board of no typical Hillel. The Director is the amazing, wonderful, and altogether great Rabbi Amos Levi!! So my task for this semester (aside from getting ready for Toronto..) is to make a Judaism 101 seminar series. I really really want to do it, but I'm gonna need some help...any ideas? (This is going out to my readers-all two of them...if that..)
2. Setting up for Sheva Brachos for my 1st grade morah's son
It feels like there're more hours in the day than that...so where did they all go? Scary...

On Trivial Matters

I don't know how long I'll actually keep at this blogging thing, but for now, these are my thoughts of the evening. I was playing Trivial Pursuit tonight with my family, and got to thinking (as I'm sure others have done before, Miss K.) about board games...what is their purpose? I believe it was R' Tatz who said (on a video for 9 Av two years ago when I was in LA as a counselor in Kol Neshama-the video was shown at Aish LA) that playing games is simply a way to waste time-as if it's not bad enough that we have such a short life, we then want to "kill time," basically a different way of saying "killing ourselves." We only have a certain amount of time here, and we'd like to spend it as fast as possible? How can this be?? And more...it's sometimes really hard to be constantly involved in learning 24/7. So what do we do? As humans (rather than angels) we are constantly rising and falling-never standing still. So if we make every moment, even our "relaxing" ones, for tachlis and growth, then it is still lishem shamayim and NOT a waste of time.
So my point? I'd like to think that tonight's game was a way of spending time with my family and trying to improve on my Kibud Av Va'Em and my Vi'ahavta Li'reacha Kamocha (loving your fellow like yourself). It's also interesting that it's becuase of Vi'ahavta Li'reacha Kamocha that I am NOT allowed to play it-except for the Disney version-with certain other people..;) )

Saturday, August 14, 2004

The joys of learning posting

So now that I've entered this dangerous and time-consuming world of posting, I'd love to learn a few things-like how to link my words to other sites-tho I might have just found it. (Being a history major at UMBC, this is all very new to me..) Testing...
(10 minutes later...) K-so I'm learning this as I go along-now how do I add links (like fellow posters or websites I want to publicize) to the side of my blog page? Any ideas? (Hey-computer science majors and minors...this is for you!)

All the fault of the puppy

K-so just in order to sign a post on a blog, I am forced to make a blog...Devorah, you didn't do it, it was Stinks...it's always her fault, ya know? So this is my life..now knowing that eventually this will somehow get out to the world, I'm going to try and be careful, but I slip sometimes..;)